Winter Lincoln’s Sparrow

While walking downtown around noon I noticed an odd sparrow in a yard along Etolin Street. A closer look revealed it to be a Lincoln’s Sparrow. Earlier this winter I went to take a look at a Lincoln’s Sparrow hanging around feeders out by SeaMart. At this point I am not aware of any other prior records of this species over wintering in Sitka (though there could be one in Marge and Tedin’s records from the 2000s). So it’s interesting that there may be two in town this winter.

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Snow and Birds

Snow overnight with some scattered snow showers today left the ground covered in an inch or so of snow. Between the snow showers, the sun was actually shining for a good chunk of the day. Was nice to have another day of brightness as we approach the new year.

I did a little birding this afternoon, with the main goal to try and photograph a Lincoln’s Sparrow that has been visiting a feeder since at least late fall.

On a brief stop at Swan Lake, I was interested to see how aggressive the Trumpeter Swan was being with a couple of Mallards that were getting between it and the corn someone was tossing out. The swan would grab the mallard (male in each case) by the neck and swing it around a few times. The ducks seemed to get the idea and leave a little space around the swan. I thought it was funny to see the first year Glaucous Gull fly in and slip into the dense crowd of Mallards to try a bit of the corn. I didn’t get the impression it was much to the gull’s liking, as it didn’t make much effort to go after more.

Across the lake 24 or more Ring-necked Ducks were all gathered up in the open water near the little cove on the west side. This is the best time to observe the ducks, as when the lake is open, they tend to be scattered around and most of them are distant and hard to see very well. When the lake ices over completely they leave – and are rarely observed elsewhere. In the same opening was an American Wigeon – a bird I’ve not noticed lately.

I did get to see the Lincoln’s Sparrow. Wasn’t a great time for getting pictures of it, but did get one shot that was at least recognizable. Might try for a better photo on a future occasion when I have more time and the direction of the sun is a bit better.

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